on yourpremium changes

Q1. Why are health insurance premiums reviewed every year?

Advances in health care technology, the increasing use of health services and changes to the Australian Government rebate on private health insurance are just some of the reasons why premiums go up. For more information on the reasons and what we’re doing to make health care affordable and accessible for our members, visit why premiums go up.

Q2. When will I hear about my new premium?

You’ll be notified about your new premium between late February and mid-March 2019. Your first payment after 1 April 2019 will reflect your new premium.

Q3. Can I lock in my current premium?

Yes you can by paying up to 18 months in advance, provided we receive your payment before 1 April 2019. The deadlines for each payment method are below.

Payment method Pre-payment deadline
Direct debit – credit card or bank account 27 March 2019
BPAY hcf.com.au/bpay 27 March 2019
Phone 13 14 39 or online
31 March 2019
30 March 2019

Q4. How does HCF compare to other funds in terms of premium increases?

This year, our average premium increase is our lowest for 17 years. The cost of each health insurance product is reviewed individually, so the change to your premium may differ from the average across all products.

To address affordability and deliver value, we're focused on keeping premium increases to a minimum. Being not for profit, we’re committed to giving you value for money and delivering a higher percentage of premiums back in benefits. 

Q5. My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?

The Australian Government calculates the national average based on the premium increases it approves for all Australian health funds.

Because your premium increase relates to your chosen level of HCF cover, it may be different to the national average (or the HCF average). Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing member payments against the claims we pay out for all members on your level of cover in your state.

Q6. Why have my premiums gone up, but my benefits haven’t increased?

Each year we review the benefits we pay to health care providers such as hospitals, doctors and extras providers, like dentists. Due to the prevalence of chronic diseases, an aging population, newer and more expensive technologies and increased treatment options, the overall spend on benefits is increasing. It’s our responsibility to ensure your premiums allow us to provide the level of health cover you need and expect.

Q7. Why has my premium gone up even though I make few, or no claims?

Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing premiums we receive versus claims we pay out to members on your level of cover. Premiums increase to ensure we have enough funds to cover the benefits we expect to pay to members on your level of cover in the coming 12 months.

Private health insurance in Australia is 'community-rated'. This means you pay the same premium for the same level of cover as everyone else in your state, regardless of your age or health status, or the number of claims you make. This helps make private health insurance more accessible for everyone.

Q8. What is HCF doing to keep my health insurance as affordable as possible?

We work closely with participating hospitals, doctors and extras providers to help you reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. We also provide advice on preparing for a hospital admission and what you can and can’t claim for.

Our Preparing for Hospital tool explains how a range of common hospital procedures work. We cover what questions to ask, what to expect in hospital, and what aftercare you may need. It also features a cost indicator, which outlines the typical costs, potential out-of-pocket expenses, and the difference your choice of doctor and hospital can make.

We’ve also partnered with Healthshare to help you and your GP find a medical specialist who participates in the HCF no-gap or known-gap scheme.

Through our More for You extras providers, you could get 100% back on extras like dental, optical and physiotherapy.

Q9. Why is the Australian Government rebate on private health insurance decreasing as a percentage?

Each year on 1 April, the government compares the national average of health fund premium increases to the standard cost of living in Australia (known as Consumer Price Index (CPI)). If the average premium increase is greater than CPI, which it generally is, the Australian Government rebate percentage that members are entitled to is reduced.

As the rebate is a government initiative, we don’t have any control over this reduction. For more information on changes to the rebate, visit  privatehealth.gov.au or ato.gov.au.

Q10. Why are premium increases higher than CPI?

This is because the cost of providing quality health care is generally increasing faster than the cost of other consumer goods. More money is being spent on health across the sector with total health expenditure in Australia increasing by 57% in the last decade.

We live in a time where our population is ageing, and has access to better quality health care than ever before. We’re living longer, and seeing better health outcomes, but this comes at a cost.

Q11. Where can I learn more about how private health insurance works?

You can find more information at Private healthcare explained.

Q12. Unhappy with your premium review?

We’re here to help. Speak with one of our health insurance experts and we’ll make sure you’re on the cover that’s right for you. Call 13 13 34 Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm (AEDT), Sat-Sun: 9am-5pm (AEDT) or visit your nearest branch.

Q13. I have more questions – who can I speak to?

Please call us on 13 13 34. We’ve extended our call centre hours until 5 April so you can reach us Mon-Fri: 8am-9pm (AEDT) Sat-Sun: 9am-5pm (AEDT) or visit your nearest branch.

Find out more


Find out why this happens and what we’re doing to make health care more affordable and accessible.


How to get the most out of your private health insurance.


What you need to know about the private system.


We’re here to help.